'Autonomy To Gilgit Will Obstruct Kashmir Resolution'

31 August 2009
IANS


Islamabad: Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant commander Syed Salahuddin has said autonomy for the Gilgit-Baltistan region will have a 'negative impact' on efforts to resolve the Kashmir dispute. 'Any change in the territorial integrity of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (as it existed pre-1947) will have negative impact on the Kashmir issue, whose future is yet to be determined,' Salahuddin, who is the Hizbul Mujahideen chief and chairman of the United Jehad Council, said at an iftaar party here Sunday. Pakistan Saturday approved a devolution package for Gilgit-Baltistan region that empowers the local assembly to elect its chief minister. The president of Pakistan is, however, authorised to appoint a governor for the area. The Gilgit-Baltistan assembly will have no control over defence, treasury and foreign affairs. Salahuddin, who is wanted in India for terrorist strikes, blamed former Pakistan president Parvez Musharaff for 'damaging the Kashmir cause'. 'Had he (Musharraf) not diluted Pakistan's stand on Kashmir, the situation would have been different,' he said. He said Islamabad remained 'unduly silent' on the Kashmir that will have 'dangerous implications on the territorial integrity of Pakistan'.